The sacrifices noted in Leviticus 1-7
Autor: Attila Varga
Album: fara album
Categorie: Diverse


As He had promised, God met with Moses in the tabernacle to reveal his will to the Israelites (verse 1). The first of these revelations related to the sacrifices. The patriarchs, when sojourning in Canaan, had already worshiped God with burnt offerings and sin offerings. Consequently, the sacrificial laws of these chapters presuppose the presentation of burnt offerings, grain offerings and sin offerings as a custom well known to the people.

However, during the time of Moses, God organized the nation of Israel and its worship into more formal patterns. Instead of each individual or family building an altar wherever convenient, there was to be a central tabernacle where all would worship.

Not only did God stipulate where sacrifices were to be offered, he prescribed specific types of sacrifices for the people and for the priests. These God-ordained changes represented a profound break with tradition. No longer would the father of a family act as the family's priest. Now the worship and instruction of such a large nation called for additional order and regulation.

As you read through this section of Leviticus, remember that the New Testament makes clear that the sacrifices of Israel were symbolic of Christ's sacrifice and atonement for us.

Hebrews 5 through 10 is a New Testament commentary on Leviticus, emphasizing the priesthood of Christ and his atoning death. The sacrificial system of Leviticus foreshadows this essential truth. This is the implication of Hebrews 9:26-28: "But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him."


These laws describe the technical aspects of the sacrificial rituals. But bear in mind that the "various sacrifices always belonged to larger contexts of worship in which prayer, hymns, and other forms of liturgy were integral parts" (Harper's Bible Commentary, p. 158).

1) Burnt offering (Leviticus 1; 6:8-13):

"The sons of Aaron the priest are to put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. Then Aaron’s sons the priests shall arrange the pieces, including the head and the fat, on the burning wood that is on the altar" (Leviticus 1:7-8).

In the burnt offering the sacrificial animal was completely incinerated on the altar. "The offering represents the desire of the offerer to be in complete harmony with God" (Keith Schoville, Exodus and Leviticus, Genesis to Revelation Series, p. 75). The offering symbolized the entire surrender to God of the individual or the congregation. The burnt offering was to be "without defect" (Leviticus 1:3, 10), foreshadowing the perfect sacrifice of Christ, "a lamb without blemish or defect" (1 Peter 1:19).

2) Grain offering (Leviticus 2; 6:14-23):

The grain offering was also known as the meal or cereal offering. It was the only offering without blood, and was called a gift. This offering demonstrated Israel's dependence on God, as shown by the presentation of the produce of the earth. Although it accompanied the burnt offering, the grain offering was a separate offering. The former symbolized a life devoted to God; the latter presented fruits of labor dedicated to him. The grain offering had several significant features.

Features of the Grain Offering:

- Oil: a symbol of the Holy Spirit.
- Incense: symbolic of the sacrifice of prayer.
- Absence of yeast (or leaven) and honey: spiritual purity.
- Salt: preservation and permanence.
- Fire: symbolic of God’s acceptance.
- Pleasing aroma: God’s approval and pleasure.

3) Peace or fellowship offering (Leviticus 3; 7:11-36):

The peace offering symbolized reconciliation, as shown in the fellowship of eating. This offering is also symbolic of Christ. He is our peace offering, having made reconciliation for us: "For he himself is our peace" (Ephesians 2:14-18). When we are beneficiaries of his atoning work, peace becomes ours (Romans 5:1). Fellowship with Christ becomes the highest point of Christian privilege (John 17:3; 1 John 1:3).

Features of the Peace Offering:

- One portion was consumed by fire, indicating God’s acceptance and participation.
- Another portion was eaten by the offerer. Since eating is part of a covenant, unity between God and offerer is implied.
- A third portion was eaten by the priest.

4) Sin offering (Leviticus 4:1 - 5:13; 6:24-30):

The sin offering was made by those who had sinned unintentionally (sins of personal weakness as opposed to sins committed in defiant rebellion against God). Jesus Christ became our sin offering: "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21).

5) Guilt offering (Leviticus 5:14 - 6:7; 7:1-10):

The offering for committing a violation against the Lord (Leviticus 5:14-19) was always an unblemished ram (verses 15, 18; 6:6). No sin could be overlooked. Even for ignorance, or inadvertence, sacrifice was necessary (Leviticus 5:15).

Restitution had to be made for any wrong committed against God or against one's neighbor, along with an additional 20 percent. For wrong done to the Lord (such as failing to pay tithes, eating the priest's portion of the sacrifice, or failing to redeem the firstborn), the 20 percent was given to the priest; for wrong done to a neighbor, it was given to the one defrauded.
The Israelites had to observe the correct procedure for offering an animal sacrifice. "The major altar offerings... followed a stereotyped ritual pattern of six acts, of which the worshipper executed three and the priest performed three" (R.K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, p. 599).

Procedure for Animal Sacrifice:

- The worshiper chose a physically perfect animal from his herd.
- The worshiper brought the animal to the courtyard of the tabernacle.
- The worshiper laid his hand on the animal, implying that it represented him, and slaughtered it.
- The priest took the basin of blood and poured it at the base of the altar.
- The priest then burned specified fat portions (or the entire animal in the burnt offering).
- The rest of the animal was then eaten by the priests, or by their families. (In the case of the peace offering, priests and worshipers ate together.)

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